WAKEFIELD — Beverly High boys lacrosse coach John Pynchon couldn’t have predicted a final score, or even if his team would win or lose at the opening of last night’s North Division 2 semifinal against Wakefield.
But it took no time at all for him to realize that no matter the outcome, his Panthers were ready to play.
“We could sense it the second that opening faceoff came,” Pynchon said after his team put together a complete performance in a 10-9 victory over the second-seeded Warriors at Landrigan Field.
Beverly (13-8) will play the winner of today’s Melrose/Marblehead contest on Saturday in the North Division 2 final.
The Panthers scored three first-quarter goals, won every faceoff in the first half and completely dominated possession in the first 24 minutes to set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Four times in the third quarter Wakefield was able to pull within two goals, but each time the Panthers responded. Beverly actually increased its lead to four goals (10-6) with 5:27 to play before the Warriors closed the game on a three-goal run to make things interesting.
Ultimately, Beverly’s impressive start proved to be too much for Wakefield, which finished 15-5.
“We had a ton of shots, a ton of good looks,” Pynchon said about Beverly’s first quarter. “I think that faceoff play was huge for us. We would score a goal, win the faceoff and get a really good, long possession. Early in the year we’d have like a three-second possession. We worked so hard on possessing the ball and making the extra look that now it’s clicking and we’re getting some possession time.”
Taking care of the ball on the offensive end also paid off defensively, and that may have helped the Panther defense close the game when Wakefield started applying more pressure.